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What is pleural effusion?

Pleural effusion is the accumulation of fluid in the pleural space, which is the area between the pleura membrane that covers the lung and the chest wall. If sufficient fluid builds up, it may cause the lung, or portions of the lung, to collapse. This may cause difficulty with breathing. There are several diseases that cause fluid to accumulate in the pleural space, and the type of fluid that accumulates depends on the disease.
A pleural effusion occurs when the pleural fluid that lubricates the surfaces of the pleura (the lining around the organs in the chest) builds up to abnormal, excessive amounts. Pleural effusions can be caused by congestive heart failure, pulmonary embolism, cirrhosis, cancer, infections, open-heart surgery and physical trauma.

Continue Learning about Pleural Effusion

What is the rate of incidence for pleural effusion?
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Pleural effusion is a fairly common condition seen by doctors. It is estimated to occur in as high a...
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How is pleural effusion treated?
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Treatment for pleural effusion involves removing the excess fluid in the pleural cavity, keeping the...
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What is an exudative effusion?
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An exudative effusion is one of two types of pleural effusions. In this type of effusion, the blood ...
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What increases my risk for pleural effusion?
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Factors that increase risk for pleural effusion include congestive heart failure and inflammation of...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.